Friday morning, I took my sweet old Vertigo Dog in to the vet. I lifted her up onto a blanket on the examining table, and she fell asleep in my arms for the last time.
It doesn't seem that long ago, really, that I saw her sitting in the back of her cage at the city animal control facility-- tail thumping, ears up, eyes alert. We were constant companions from the moment we left the pound together; that was fourteen and a half years ago. I barely remember the person I was before she was part of my life. I barely remember what my life was like before her.
Pets are family. To a single person, they're even more important. Hers was the face I saw first every morning, last every night, and the face (and tail) that greeted me whenever I came home. I hate coming home now; it's all wrong. My house is empty and quiet and awful. It's all wrong, and the wrongness is a constant weight pressing on my chest.
I tell myself I did the right thing. I know, intellectually, that I did. As the friend who went with me said, she went while there was still a little bit of her left. But my heart can't quite catch up with my mind.
The vet actually asked if I wanted to be there for it. I am sure there are people who can't, and that's an incredibly personal thing that they have to handle themselves. But I knew, and know, that it was my responsibility to be there for her. It was my responsibility to tell her I loved her, to have my arms be the last arms she felt around her, and my face be the last face she saw.
She trusted me to take care of her for fourteen and a half years, and I just hope that, wherever she is now, she knows I did the best I could.
I know this terrible sadness will pass. I know it will. But right now, everything hurts, and I would give anything to have her back, no matter how selfish a wish that is.